Romanian And Bulgarian Immigrants Will Only Have 'Modest' Impact On Public Services, Report Suggests

Romanian And Bulgarian Immigrants Will Have 'Modest' Impact On Public Services

Bulgarians and Romanians immigrants are likely to have only a "modest" impact on public services, according to a report published on Friday.

Research conducted by the independent National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) has suggested that while the number of people from the two Eastern European countries who will move to the UK once restrictions are lifted is unpredictable, they will not put an undue strain on housing or healthcare.

From 1 January 2014 Bulgarians and Romanians will be be entitled to work in Britain just as other EU nationals are.

The government has refused to speculate on how many people will decide to move to the UK once the restrictions are lifted and David Cameron has moved to reassure voters they will not be allowed to exploit the welfare state.

However according to the NIESR, studies covering Eastern European migrants find them to be less likely to claim benefits than other migrant groups or the general population.

The report also concludes that migrants from Bulgaria and Romania are "unlikely to have a significant impact" on the NHS as they will be "generally young and healthy and do not make major demands on health services".

"Like early arrivals from other Eastern European countries in 2007, once restrictions are lifted, most Bulgarian and Romanian migrants are likely to be young and without families, at least initially. This will limit the potential demand on services," it adds.

And the authors note that despite the widespread public perception that migrants pose a disproportionate burden on the social housing "evidence to date does not substantiate this claim".

Last month David Cameron was accused of peddling "myths" about the number of immigrants who claim benefits in Britain, after he said he wanted to stop the UK being a "soft touch".

The prime minister was criticised for offering empty anti-immigration rhetoric amid fears that Ukip poses a significant electoral threat in 2015.

His speech follows similar interventions on immigration by Labour leader Ed Miliband and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg.

Uncertainty about the numbers has been exploited by Ukip leader Nigel Farage who has said it was "irresponsible, wrong and damn stupid" to allow further immigration.

Europe minister David Lidington said the report was a "welcome contribution to the debate on migration".

"The report will help to shape this government’s work to build an immigration system which works in the national interest – supporting the UK economy by continuing to attract the brightest and the best global talent, at the same time as protecting our public services and ensuring our welfare system is not open to abuse."

The Romanian ambassador to London, Dr Ion Jinga, told HuffPost UK that Romanians were not benefit tourists.

"As EU citizens, Romanians exercising their right to free movement to the UK do not ask for a special treatment. They just expect a fair, non-discriminatory status,similar applied to the other European citizens and to the British citizens who live in Romania," he said.


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